Monday, June 29, 2009

Costume History

As a costume designer, details make me so happy, and I especially love the 19th century. I am addicted to BBC dramatizations of my favorite novels and am glad that they are churning out a tenth adaptation of Persuasion and Jane Eyre.

I started making these widgets last year and looked for images in my costume history books and from digital image sellers so I could make my own graphics. Often the images consist of an amazing amount of layers; item itself (say, a corset), a background layer, maybe some period handwriting, lace, a fabric pattern, type, and added color. They are very time-consuming to make and afterward have to be reduced for the tiny domino tile, yet be readable. Fortunately, I have Photoshop, and have learned by doing, which has worked out nicely for me so far, though I'd love to take classes in advanced techniques someday.

The images are then printed out on heavy paper and attached to the tiles, then sealed. I run brass wire that I have oxidized through the tiles, add bead caps if I want a more period look, and then add the embellishments that I think will complement the subject.

They are rather labor-intensive but are fun to make. I hope to add more costume pieces from other periods - I'm currently moving into the 18th century and slowly but surely intend to go backward as far as costume history allows.

I made a bracelet using a medieval illumination that I found, and it's one of my favorite pieces.

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